Mass Effect: Andromeda will have players exploring a brand new galaxy in search for a new home for humanity. And if that doesn’t catch your fancy, players will also have a bunch of new companions to fight alongside or get, how do I put this, “better acquainted” with. There’s a whole galaxy out there to explore. In anticipation of the game’s release this month, I’ve put together a few things to get you hyped for all the space exploration.
A tale of two siblings
Mass Effect: Andromeda takes place roughly 600 years after Mass Effect 3. Unfortunately, players will not be taking on the role of Mass Effect veteran and all around tough guy/girl Commander Sheppard, but will instead play as one of two siblings, Scott and Sarah Ryder. Andromeda serves as a sort of soft reboot for the franchise, as it takes place in the same universe as the previous three games but sets out to tell it’s own unique (and possibly Reaper-free) story. Of course, this will include new alien races to aid you (or to cuddle up with). Sadly, there will be no returning characters (Tali’Zorah will be sorely missed), but don’t despair as this opens up the way for new relationships to evolve with a whole new cast of colourful aliens species.
A class of its own
Unlike its predecessors, Mass Effect: Andromeda will do away with the tried and tested class system. Instead of being asked to choose a class at the start of your journey, the new game will allow players to choose abilities and load-outs. The more flexible class system will allow players to tailor their character to each situation. As players kill, explore and basically be all around badasses, they will earn skill points which they then can invest in multiple skill trees. Players will have the freedom to choose skills from any of the skill trees however they see fit. Allowing players freedom when choosing skills, abilities, and load-outs would mean that one player’s Ryder sibling could be completely different to another. For those that struggle with commitment, BioWare has included an option to respect your character, but this will probably carry a monetary value of some sort.
Say hello to my little friend
What would exploring space be without killing at least one or two (or three) aliens during your travels? Luckily, combat has been revamped and, depending on your preference, it might be for better or worse. The first thing players will notice when they enter the blood-soaked battlefield is that the cover system has been significantly changed. Gone are the days of trying to duck and take cover only to miss the mark. The new “dynamic” cover system, found in most games these days, will let players take cover automatically behind objects. This means that mobility during combat will probably play a much larger role. Keeping this in mind, players will also have access to a jetpack which will aid them when traversing the battlefield. Pistols, Shotguns, Assault rifles and sniper rifles are back. If players are to survive, they will need to learn how to combine these with their various abilities during combat. You will still abe able to boss your squadmates around in combat, although you will only have access to limited commands. Overall, combat looks set to be more fast-paced, and we are not complaining.
The Renegade and Paragon dialogue system has been a staple of the Mass Effect games since the original’s release. But as with so many other things, they will not be including the system in Mass Effect: Andromeda. The reason for this is that, instead of labelling a player’s decisions as good or bad, BioWare wants a more nuanced dialogue system. This is a great move.
So much to see and do
According to BioWare, Mass Effect: Andromeda boasts the largest universe in a Mass Effect game yet. Of course, this would not matter at all if there weren’t interesting things to do in this vast new galaxy. Well, it would seem that BioWare has this covered. Building relationships, just like in real life, is difficult. In order to get that special squad mate to trust you, players will be able to go on loyalty missions. These missions will not only help players gain their various squad members trust but will also allow players to learn more about each of them and what truly makes them tick. These were some of my favourite missions in the previous Mass Effect game and I’m glad to see it returning.
When not trying to win over your squad, players will be able to explore new and fascinating planets using Andromeda’s version of the Mako called the Nomad. Luckily, BioWare has stated that the Nomad is superior to the Mako in every way, which will make exploration more fun and less of a chore. Scanning is also back and, while some might lament this, it has become a staple of the franchise. Scanning planets for various resources will allow players to craft better weapons and armour, making you just that more deadly in combat.
Mass Effect: Andromeda seems to be bigger, slicker and, overall, better than the previous games. I’m excited to start exploring the vast new galaxy, shoot some new creatures and meet new friends.